Trailer Magazine

Charting uncharted territory

  • From the June 2018 issue.
Charting uncharted territory

With imminent changes to Chain of Responsibility laws, operators will have additional factors to consider to ensure compliance. To help bring clarity into an area of management that is often misunderstood, Bartlett Equipment will launch a new detailed support system designed to assist operators in safely setting up their trucks to tow trailers.

From mid-2018, changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws will force every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain to ensure the safety of their transport activities. These changes will see CoR laws become more closely aligned with workplace health and safety laws. They will include a new general safety duty and the extension of CoR to vehicle maintenance.

Businesses will be required to review safety management systems to ensure they identify and control risk, including the management of mass and loading of vehicles and trailers. Breaches of safe vehicle loading or mass limits could see responsible persons or entities held accountable under the new CoR laws. The spotlight will shine directly on employers and fleet managers, with no room for uncertainty or deferral of responsibility onto others in the road transport industry.

Understanding the complexity of these changes, Bartlett Equipment will launch new towbar rating summaries to coincide with these changes. They are designed to help fleet operators manage safe loading and new CoR obligations.

Established in 1946, Bartlett offers a contemporary range of heavy-duty towing equipment. Its extensive product offering includes towbars for trucks made to suit virtually all coupling types, Bartlett Ball trailer couplings and safety chain systems for trucks and trailers. These systems are designed to bring an added degree of control and certainty into the office as well as the cabin of the truck.

Fleet operators recognise that the towing mission carries inherent risks both with compliance and out on the road. Overseeing what goes on in the fleet is a critical, yet sometimes daunting or overwhelming task. According to Bartlett, there are several issues related to towing that aren’t always very well understood: 

  • The tender – accurate wording is required to ensure compliance throughout the fleet and functional interchangeable parts are critical when connecting trucks and trailers.
  • Equipment knowledge – this is crucial for safe operating, safe loading and to service equipment.
  • Rules and regulations – the regulatory environment is strict and complex; therefore a strong appreciation is vital when formulating safe work systems.
  • Ratings – this relates to numbers, acronyms, limits, rules and regulations. Industry specific knowledge is vital.

As a heavy vehicle towbar and coupling manufacturer with over 70 years of experience, Bartlett understands the importance of correctly interpreting the considerations required to safely set up a truck to tow trailers. Considerations such as Australian Design Rules (ADR) compliance, VSB6 Code of Practice, Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), aggregate trailer mass, gross trailer mass, static vertical load and D-value are just some examples.

To comply with new CoR laws, companies may need to improve or introduce safe systems to control the loading of their trucks and trailers. The focus and expectation will be squarely placed on fleet operators.
Bartlett says its towbar rating charts will help to unscramble loading and mass complexities by depicting truck, trailer and coupling position with safe operational capacities and other supporting information.

A detailed chart explaining the recent enforcement of D-value limitations on 50mm ball couplings when used on trucks will also be supplied where applicable. This data will serve as an important reference for fleet operators wanting to comply with mass and loading requirements under the new CoR provisions.

The Bartlett towbar summary of operating capacities will be included as a feature of each Bartlett towbar system from mid-2018 to assist operators in creating or improving safe work systems, and serve as an aid in training vehicle operators.

Fast Fact
Since its inception in 1946, Bartlett has firmly focused its constant tow coupling developments on improving component safety features.

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